Best Value Party Schools

As the holder of a degree from a so-called "party school," this writer knows it's possible to balance all-night study sessions with the occasional social gathering and libation -- read: "kegger" -- and still receive a great education at a good value.

While students ostensibly choose to attend college to obtain a higher education, many also enjoy spending their downtime engaging in all kinds of revelry.  Read More

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1Lehigh University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$693,000
Total 4 Year Cost$226,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,100
2University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$619,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,700
3Bucknell University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$604,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate89%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,500
4University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$562,000
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,700
5University of Delaware(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$484,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
6 (tie)Miami University - Oxford, OH(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$473,000
Total 4 Year Cost$121,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,800
6 (tie)Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$473,000
Total 4 Year Cost$131,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,200
8University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$461,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,800
9University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$459,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,500
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,600
10University of Florida (UF)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$455,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,900
Grad Rate88%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,400
11Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
Total 4 Year Cost$181,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,200
12University of Delaware(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$414,000
Total 4 Year Cost$170,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
13Miami University - Oxford, OH(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
Total 4 Year Cost$183,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,800
14University of Georgia (UGA)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$397,000
Total 4 Year Cost$86,800
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,700
15University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$395,000
Total 4 Year Cost$159,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,600

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

We based our list of "Party Schools" on The Princeton Review's list of the top 20 party schools in the country. If your favorite film is "Animal House," and if you'd like to attend a school that has a reputation for partying, consider using PayScale's data to zero in on the best value party schools before you submit your application.

Located about 70 miles from Philadelphia and about 85 miles from New York City, Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania happens to be one of the top partying schools in the country. It's also ranked 33nd on our 20 Year Net ROI list, so it's among the top party schools return on investment students can attend. Indeed, Lehigh alumni report a median return on investment of $693,000 in the 20 years after they graduate, and that figure increases to $806,000 when financial aid is included. The campus stretches across more than 2,300 acres, and the school is affiliated with Nobel laureates, Fulbright scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners. Ranked sixth on Princeton Review's list of the top party schools, Lehigh University delivers exceptional ROI for students who like mixing business with pleasure.

Due largely in part to its annual Unofficial Saint Patrick's Day festivities, which involve copious amounts of drinking and partying, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign comes in at number 1 on the Princeton Review's list of top party schools. It also enjoys a 54th-place ranking for 20 Year Net ROI, which equals $619,000 without financial aid and $669,000 with it. A founding member of the Big 10 Conference, U of I, or UIUC, sprawls across a 4,552-acre campus and boasts a student population of more than 44,500 students. Its 17 colleges offer more than 150 programs of study, and one of its best-known alumni, Fazlor Rahman Kahn -- the "Einstein of Structural Engineering" -- designed both the John Hancock Tower and the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Ranked 62nd on our national 20 Year Net ROI list, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, easily tops our list of party schools offering the best value for students. This private school is situated on 445 acres in an area that is largely rural and also happens to be the largest private liberal arts university in the country. Its three schools and colleges offer degrees spanning a wide range of fields, including engineering, the arts, the humanities, social science, music, education and management. Bucknell alumni report a median return of investment of $604,000; that figure skyrockets to $714,000 with financial aid. Bucknell offers nearly 50 majors, more than 60 minors and more than 200 student clubs and organizations. Famous alumni include novelist Philip Roth and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, so the school clearly offers far more than a partying environment.